Jody Olsen, PhD, MSW

Headshot of a woman in front of a white Peace Corp flagJody Olsen, PhD, MSW is a former Director of the Peace Corps.

Josephine (Jody) Olsen, PhD, MSW served as the 20th Director of the Peace Corps from March 2018 to January 2021.With the beginning of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Olsen made the unprecedented decision to evacuate all 7,000 Peace Corps Volunteers and brought them back safely to the United States within nine days. Dr. Olsen then led the comprehensive re-entry plan for volunteers to return to service. She also championed global women's economic empowerment, global health, and established Peace Corps in four new countries. 

Olsen began her career as a Peace Corps Volunteer, serving in Tunisia from 1966-1968. She also served the agency as Acting Director (2009), Deputy Director (2002-2009), Chief of Staff (1989-1992), Regional Director (1981-1984), and Country Director (1979-1981).

Before to returning to the Peace Corps in 2018, Dr. Olsen was a Visiting Professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work and Director of the University’s Center for Global Education. She helped develop and direct inter-professional global health projects for health graduate students and taught international social work, global social policy, and global health. 

Olsen received a BS from the University of Utah and a Master’s in Social Work and a PhD in Human Development from the University of Maryland.